NFL Teams Resting Starters: Matt Barkley Set For ‘Meaningful Snaps’ Once Josh Allen Gets Record

NFL Teams Resting Starters: Matt Barkley Set For ‘Meaningful Snaps’ Once Josh Allen Gets Record article feature image

Ralph Freso/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Allen.

NFL Teams Resting Starters

Player Resting
QB Josh Allen (reportedly)
WR Cole Beasley
CB Tre'Davious White
DE Jerry Hughes
DE Mario Addison
QB Ben Roethlisberger
C Maurkice Pouncey
OLB T.J. Watt
DE Cam Heyward
QB Patrick Mahomes
WR Tyreek Hill
WR Sammy Watkins
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

It's Week 17 and half of the NFL's playoff berths have been clinched.

There's a lot left to be determined: The NFC East and AFC South will crown its winners on Sunday while five wild cards remain up for grabs. But there are some teams whose fates won't changed based on the season finale.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC's No. 1 seed and the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers will finish as either the 2 or 3 seeds. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already punched their postseason ticket, but can't win their division.

Those are the four contenders most likely to bench their starters this week, but other teams could also decide to sit players, so we'll be tracking their decisions below as well as highlighting any relevant news in the interim.

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Starters resting? QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill, WR Sammy Watkins, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

The Chiefs have nothing to play for in Week 17. Kansas City will have home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the AFC. Early in the week, Andy Reid said Chad Henne would make an appearance, but confirmed on Wednesday that Patrick Mahomes would not play at all. Henne is the starter for Kansas City in Week 17.

Mahomes isn't the only starter out. Top weapon Tyreek Hill is out, as are Sammy Watkins and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.


Starters resting? QB Ben Roethlisberger, C Maurkice Pouncey, OLB T.J. Watt, DE Cam Heyward

Roethlisberger is out, Mason Rudolph is in, Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac reported on Thursday that three more starters won't go on Sunday: Pouncey, Watt and Heyward.

Compare real-time NFL odds for Week 17


Starters resting? Tre'Davious White, Jerry Hughes, Cole Beasley and Mario Addison. Possibly Josh Allen.

Head coach Sean McDermott wasn't ready to commit one way or the other following Buffalo's win over the Patriots on Monday Night Football.

Buffalo can be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the conference, but with the Steelers sitting Roethlisberger it's theoretically easier to rest Josh Allen. The decision matters for the Dolphins who play the Bills fighting for a playoff spot.

The betting market may believe the Bills will rest their starters. Buffalo opened at -4.5 but was steamed on Tuesday.

That continued on Sunday morning, with news going back and forth on the status of Allen and the Bills' starters. At one point, the line was taken off the board and re-opened at Bills -3. But then a report about Matt Barkley moved the line back to Dolphins -3.

My understanding is Matt Barkley will get “meaningful snaps” per source. Starter Josh Allen is just 40 yards away from breaking the team’s single season passing record. Bills also following similar formula to last year’s week 17, when they rested key starters.

— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) January 3, 2021


Starters resting? Not announced

Green Bay is still playing for the first-round bye and home field in the NFC, so it's unlikely that Aaron Rodgers or any Packers sit against the Bears. The Packers, Saints and Seahawks all kick off at the same time on Sunday.


Starters resting? Not announced

The Saints clinched the NFC South but are still playing for the possible No. 1 seed in the NFC.

While they aren't 'resting' any players, the Saints will be without running back Alvin Kamara after a positive COVID-19 test.


Starters resting? Not announced

The Seahawks are also mathematically alive for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so expect Pete Carroll to play his starters.


Starters resting? Likely none

Head coach Bruce Arians announced the team will be playing to win in Week 17 at home against the Falcons.

"We're going to play to win," Arians told reporters. "We're going to practice and pretend like everything depends on it."

A lot actually does depend on it, at least in terms of playoff opponent. A Tampa Bay win means a first-round matchup against whichever team comes out of the NFC East rather than potentially facing the Seahawks or Saints.

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